The city of Cape Town is to recruit more traffic officers and beef up CCTV surveillance to clamp down on motorists abusing public transport lanes.
Effective policing will start in Main Road between Mowbray and the CBD in September, then Klipfontein Road, Modderdam Road, Vanguard Drive and Lansdowne Road.
The city also intends investing in more sustainable public transport as an alternative to building more roads.
Yesterday, the city announced its intention to establish a special Transport Law Enforcement Unit that will be dedicated to ensuring the appropriate use of public transport lanes.
In July 13 more traffic officers are to be recruited to add to the current 70.
The unit will initially focus on Main Road, where exclusive lanes for public transport and MyCiTi buses will be strictly enforced.
The city will spend R6 million on the development, including buying a dedicated vehicle removal truck to remove illegally parked vehicles from Main Road.
The mayoral committee member for Transport, Roads and Stormwater, Brett Herron, said a network of CCTV cameras providing 24/7 monitoring of the public transport lanes to the Transport Management Centre will be utilised to monitor movements of private and public transport vehicles.
In the 1990s the city implemented public transport lanes along the Main Road but the system had become largely ineffective over time, as a result of abuse by private motorists. Last year a city and provincial transport department probe found that about 70 percent of residents use public transport to access facilities and services and that, during peak hours, more than 30 000 commuters used the Main Road public transport route daily.
The city added that about 4000 commuters a day who use private transport make use of Main Road.
Herron said the benefits of public transport lanes included shorter journeys, reduced travel time, environmental benefits and reduced costs due to the easing of congestion.
“The improved public transport system will also attract more car users to this mode of travel,” he said.
Transport and Public Works MEC Robin Carlisle said he was “quite excited” about the city’s plan which was recently presented to his department.
Cape Amalgamated Taxi Association and Congress of Democratic Taxi Associations said the development will reduce traffic violations by taxi drivers as they would be prioritised over private motorists.
The city says 30 nine-metre MyCiti buses are to roll off a local production line at the end of June and 20 more monthly until 190 buses are produced.
Busmark 2000 is manufacturing the buses. -Cape Times